OUR PEOPLE

Our Patron: SIR RANULPH FIENNES

Epitomising the bravery, leadership and fortitude as exemplified in the symbolism of the lion, ALERT is proud to present our patron Sir Ranulph Fiennes.

Sir Ran agreed to become patron of the African Lion & Environmental Research Trust in early September 2007 following his visit to the program and attendance at the first stage two release of the African Lion Rehabilitation & Release into the Wild Program at the Dollar Block reserve in Zimbabwe on 29th August 2007. He also spent time at our project sites in Victoria Falls and at Antelope Park as well as taking part in our community development programs in Livingstone, Zambia.

I am extremely proud to represent ALERT, not just because of its forward thinking work to help save the African lion, but because they are looking at the wider issues in conservation on the African continent; looking at the whole eco-system within which the lion lives; trying to find ways to develop management plans that will work in the long term and involving and empowering local communities every step of the way.

I am also refreshed by ALERT’s willingness to work alongside other organizations in partnership, to share ideas and draw different people together to try and find the best solutions to face Africa’s challenges

ALERT thanks Ran and his wife Louise for their encouragement and support in helping keep the African lion part of a Wild Africa.

Get to know the man a little more...

Sir Ranulph Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes, 3rd Baronet, OBE is a British explorer and holder of several endurance records; he was the first man to visit both the North and South Poles.

Fiennes was born in England shortly after the death of his father in World War II. After the war his mother moved the family to South Africa where he remained until he was twelve. Ranulph then returned to be educated at Eton, after which he joined the British Army and later the private army of the Sultan of Oman.

He is the third cousin of Hollywood actors Joseph and Ralph Fiennes, and is a distant cousin of Britain’s royal family.

Adventurer

Since the 1960s Fiennes has been an explorer. He led expeditions up the White Nile on a hovercraft in 1969 and on Norway’s Jostedalsbre Glacier in 1970. Perhaps his most famous trek was the Transglobe Expedition that he undertook from 1979 until 1982. Fiennes and Charles Burton journeyed around the world on its polar axis using surface transport only, covering 52,000 miles and becoming the first people to have visited both poles by surface travel.

In 1992 Fiennes lead an expedition that discovered the lost city of Ubar in Oman; Ptolemy’s long-lost Atlantis of the Sands, the frankincense centre of the world. The following year he joined with nutrition specialist Mike Stroud to become the first to cross the Antarctic continent unaided. Their journey of 97 days is the longest in south Polar history.

In 2000 he attempted to walk solo and unsupported to the North Pole. The expedition failed when his sleds fell through weak ice and Fiennes was forced to pull them out by hand. He sustained severe frostbite to the tips of several fingers, forcing him to abandon the attempt. On returning home, his surgeon insisted the necrotic fingertips be retained for several months (to allow re-growth of the remaining healthy tissue) prior to amputation. Impatient at the pain the dying fingertips caused, Fiennes removed them himself (in his garden shed) with an electric saw.

Despite suffering from a heart attack and undergoing a double heart by-pass operation just four months previously, Fiennes joined up with Stroud again in 2003 to carry out the extraordinary feat of completing seven marathons in seven days on seven continents. Fiennes reached 28,500ft in a 2005 attempt to climb Everest.

The 16th of November 2005 marked the 150th Anniversary of David Livingstone’s first glimpse of the Victoria Falls. Ran led an expedition to recreate the last part of Livingstone’s epic trip down the Zambezi River to ‘Livingstone Island’ on the edge of Victoria Falls. This expedition started on 2 November, and originally took David Livingstone four years.

In March 2007, despite a morbid, lifelong fear of heights, Fiennes undertook a personal challenge to climb the Eiger by its much-feared North Face and one year later made a second attempt to climb Everest.

On May 21st 2009 Ran finally reached the summit of Everest on his third attempt. On arriving at the summit, the veteran explorer became the first man to cross the north and south poles and climb the world’s highest peak.

Author

Fiennes career as an author has developed alongside that of explorer; he is the author of seventeen books. In 2003 he published a biography of Captain Scott which proved to be a very robust defense of Scott’s achievements and reputation which had been strongly questioned by biographers such as Roland Huntford. Although others have made comparisons between Fiennes and Scott, Fiennes himself says that he identifies more with Captain Oates, another member of Scott’s doomed Antarctic team. His works include:

To The Ends of the Earth (1983) ISBN 0-340-25277-4, account of the Transglobe Expedition

Living Dangerously (1987) ISBN 0-7515-0434-3, autobiography.

Atlantis of the Sands: The Search for the Lost City of Ubar (1992) ISBN 0-451-17577-8

Mind Over Matter: The Epic Crossing of the Antarctic Continent (1993) ISBN 0-385-31216-4

Beyond the Limits (2000) ISBN 0-316-85458-1

Captain Scott (2003) ISBN 0-340-82699-1, account of Robert Falcon Scott’s south polar expeditions.

Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know (2007) ISBN 0-340-95168-0, a look back on a life at the limit of human endeavour.

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